BOB SCHIEFFER: Today on FACE THE NATION, did you hear what Rick Santorum said. He's the man of the hour in Republican politics and he's with us this morning. The latest leader in the Republican race at the top of the national polls and even in Michigan where Mitt Romney grew up. Yesterday, he was feeling his oats. In one twenty-four-hour-period he questioned the President's religious beliefs.
RICK SANTORUM (Republican Presidential Candidate/Former Pennsylvania Senator): It's about some phony ideal, some phony theology, oh, not a theology based on the Bible, a different theology, but none-- no-- no less a theology.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Said prenatal testing is really just the President's way to reduce costs in taking care of the disabled.
RICK SANTORUM: Because it saves money in health care. Why? Because free prenatal testing ends up in more abortions and therefore less care that has to be done because we cull the ranks of the disabled in our society.
BOB SCHIEFFER: And questioned the value of public schools.
RICK SANTORUM: But the idea that the federal government should be running schools frankly much less that the state government should be running schools is anachronistic.
BOB SCHIEFFER: We'll ask him about all of it this morning, then check in with our round table of Norah O'Donnell and John Dickerson, plus Karen Tumulty of The Washington Post and Todd Spangler of The Detroit Free Press.
This is FACE THE NATION.
ANNOUNCER: From CBS News in Washington FACE THE NATION with Bob Schieffer.
BOB SCHIEFFER: And good morning. Welcome, Senator.
You are the leader in the polls this morning. And I have to say you were very busy yesterday. The Associated Press led its story of your appearance in Columbus, Ohio, by saying, quote, "Rick Santorum questioned Barack Obama's Christian values." That was after you lashed out at the President's proposal on energy of all things when you said this.
RICK SANTORUM (Republican Presidential Candidate/Former Pennsylvania Senator): It's not about you. It's not about you. It's not about your quality of life. It's not about your jobs.
RICK SANTORUM: It's about some phony ideal, some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible, a different theology.
BOB SCHIEFFER: So, Senator, I've got to ask you. What-- what in the world were you talking about, Sir?
RICK SANTORUM: Well, I was talking about the-- the radical environmentalists. That's why I was talking about energy, this-- this idea that-- that man is-- is not-- is here to serve the Earth as opposed to husband its resources and be good stewards of the Earth. And I think that is a-- a-- is a phony ideal. I don't believe that that's what-- that's what we're here to do. That-- we-- that-- that man is here to-- to use the resources and use them wisely, to care for the Earth, to be a steward of the Earth. But we're not here to serve the Earth. The Earth is not the objective. Man is the objective. And-- and I think a lot of radical-- a-- a-- a lot of radical environmentalists have it upside down.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, how does that translate into some sort of theology that the President's theology--
RICK SANTORUM (voice overlapping): Well, it's-- it's a world view.
BOB SCHIEFFER: --is not based on the Bible. I mean that suggests that he's not a Christian.
RICK SANTORUM: No, I wasn't suggesting that President's not a Christian. I accept the fact that the President is a Christian. I-- I just said that when you have a-- a-- a world view that-- that elevates the Earth above man and-- and-- and says that, you know, we can't take those resources because we're going to harm the Earth by-- by things that are-- that-- that frankly are just not scientifically proven, for example, that politicization of the whole global warming debate, I mean, this is just all-- all-- all an attempt to, you know, to centralize power and to give more power to the government. And-- and it's not questioning the President's beliefs in-- in Christianity. I'm talking about, you know, his-- the-- the belief that-- that man is-- should be in charge of the earth and should have--
BOB SCHIEFFER (voice overlapping): No, but once--
RICK SANTORUM: --dominion over it and should be good stewards of it.
BOB SCHIEFFER: I-- I don't want to just spend the whole program on this, but was your--
RICK SANTORUM (voice overlapping): Good.
BOB SCHIEFFER: --use of the word theology, perhaps, you could have had a better word than that? I mean, don't you know that-- that--
RICK SANTORUM (voice overlapping): It--
BOB SCHIEFFER: --or do you wonder that-- that might lead some people to suggest that you were questioning the President's faith?
RICK SANTORUM: Well-- no, because I've repeatedly said I don't question the President's faith. I've-- I've repeatedly said that I believe the President is a Christian. He says he is a Christian. But I'm talking about his world view or his-- the-- the way he approaches problems in this country and I think they're-- they're different than how most people do in America.
BOB SCHIEFFER: At another stop in Columbus, you took on the Pres-- President on prenatal care for expectant mothers. Here's what you said at this-- in this passage.
RICK SANTORUM: One of the things that you don't know about Obamacare and one of the mandates is they require free prenatal testing in every insurance policy in America. Why? Because it saves money in health care. Why? Because free prenatal testing ends up in more abortions and therefore less care that has to be done because we cull the ranks of the disabled in our society.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Senator, I-- I have to ask you to-- to give some explanation of that. You sound like you're saying that the purpose of prenatal care is to cause people to-- to have abortions, to get more abortions in this country. I think there are any number testing, I think any number of people would-- would say that's not the purpose at all.
RICK SANTORUM: Well, Bob, that's simply not true. The-- the bottom line is that a lot of prenatal tests are done to identify deformities in-- in utero and the customary procedure is to encourage abortions and in fact, prenatal testing that-- that particularly amniocentesis. I'm not talking about general prenatal care. You said prenatal care. I-- I didn't say prenatal care shouldn't be covered. We're talking about specifically prenatal testing and specifically amniocentesis, which is a-- which is a procedure that actually creates a risk of having a miscarriage when you have it and is done for the purposes of identifying maladies of a child in the womb. In-- in which in many cases and in fact most cases a physicians recommend, particularly if there's a problem, recommend abortion. We know, Bob, that ninety percent of Down syndrome children in America are aborted. So to suggest where does that come from? I have a child who has trisomy 18. Almost a hundred percent of trisomy 18 children are encouraged to be aborted. So, I know what I'm talking about here.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, I-- I know you know what you're talking about. I know that well. I know you also had another child that was stillborn. But--
RICK SANTORUM (overlapping): And I was--
BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): Didn't you want to know about that, just a minute.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Just hold on.
RICK SANTORUM: But what my-- my child was not stillborn. My child was born alive.
BOB SCHIEFFER: All right.
RICK SANTORUM: --and he lived two hours.
BOB SCHIEFFER: All right.
RICK SANTORUM: And by the way, prenatal testing was-- we had a-- we had a sonogram done there and they detected a problem. And, yes, the doctor said, you know, you-- you should consider an abortion. This is typical, Bob. This is what goes on and in-- in medical rooms around the country. And yes, prenatal testing, amniocentesis does, in fact, result more often than not in this country in abortions. That is-- that is a fact.
BOB SCHIEFFER: I stand corrected on the stillborn. You're absolutely right. I simply misspoke. But, Senator, do you not want any kind of prenatal testing? I mean would we just turn our back on science that this is something that expectant mothers should not go through, that it's best not to know about these things ahead of time? I mean is that what you're saying here?
RICK SANTORUM: No, I'm not saying. Look, people have the right to do it but to have the government force people to provide it free, just as to me, has a has is-- is a bit loaded. There are all sorts of prenatal testing which should be provided free. I have no problem with that if the-- if the insurance companies want to. I'm not for any of these things to be forced. Just let me-- just step back and say I don't believe any of these procedures, anything in insurance should be forced. So let me-- let me just start from there.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Okay.
RICK SANTORUM: But the idea of having, for example, sonograms and other types of prenatal care, absolutely, if-- if I think that is-- that is a wise thing to do. And If I was an employer, I would certainly encourage that. But not all prenatal testing, amniocenteses basically are used for the purposes of identifying children who are disabled and in most cases end up as a result with abortions. It's the bottom line.
BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): You're not saying. Let me just ask you, you're not saying that the cause of this, that the President looks down on disabled people, are you? You're not accusing him of that?
RICK SANTORUM: Well, the President supported partial birth abortion and partial birth abortion is a procedure used almost exclusively to-- to kill children late in pregnancy when they've been found out to be disabled. The President voted for a provision that-- that said that children born alive as a result of abortions late in pregnancy who were-- who were otherwise viable should be allowed to be killed by the doctor. I think the President has a very bad record on-- on-- on the issue of abortion and children who are disabled who are in the womb. And I think this simply is a continuation of that idea.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, since you brought all this up, I just wanted to make sure that everybody had a clear understanding of exactly what you meant--
RICK SANTORUM: Yeah.
BOB SCHIEFFER: And-- and how you feel about this. Another thing that raised a few eyebrows yesterday, Senator, you questioned the value of all things at the public school system. Now here's what you said about that.
RICK SANTORUM: But the idea that the federal government should be running schools, frankly, much less that the state government should be running schools is anachronistic. It goes back to the time of industrialization of America when people came off the farms where they did home school or have the little neighborhood school and into these big factories. So we built equal factories called public schools.
BOB SCHIEFFER: So, there you are, Senator. I mean, are you saying that we shouldn't have public schools now? I mean I thought public schools were the foundation of American democracy.
RICK SANTORUM: Yeah, I think, I'm saying that-- that local communities and-- and parents should be the ones who are in control of public education, not the-- certainly not the federal government and to as I said before, as I said in that clip I think the state governments have not done a particularly good job in public education. I think public education should be a dynamic process that's locally run, that works with parents to provide the optimal opportunity for each child in America to get the education that they need, not what the federal government or the state government says that you should have. That's why I refer to it as, you know, going back to the industrialization of America when we had a-- we had a system in-- in this country with industrialization where, you know, you had one car produced. And, you know, you maybe got it in two colors. And-- and we haven't changed public education significantly since then. Every single car on a Detroit line is custom ordered. Why? Because it's designed to meet the needs of the customer. The education system, federally run, state run, is not designed to meet the-- meet the needs of the customer. It's designed for the purposes of the school not the children and the parents who are the customers of that system. And I think we need a dramatic change in that system.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, you know, Senator, if everybody could afford to home school their children that would be one thing but--
RICK SANTORUM: I'm not talking about home schooling. I'm talking about public education, Bob.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, you know, there are little communities where the people couldn't afford to have a public school. And that's why you have states involved in the schools. And there-- there--
RICK SANTORUM: Well, there's one thing the state-- there's one thing for states to-- to help fund public education. It's another thing to dictate and micromanage and-- and create a "one size fits all education" system in states and certainly in the federal government what President Obama is trying to do. What we need is to have the same kind of change and dynamic change in the public school system as we've seen in the economy of this country. Customized. Everybody gets what they need. I have seven children. I can tell you each one of them learn differently. All of them can excel in different settings. And that goes with every-- every American child. And we can do better than a system that one in three children drop out of school. If that is the hallmark, Bob, that you talk about as a-- as a great society, when one of three children drop out of school and a lot of the folks who don't drop out of school still can't read at grade level, that to me is a failure and defending that failure is not something I'm planning on doing which is what the President does.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, what-- what do you do to-- what would you do to fix it, Senator?
RICK SANTORUM: Well, as I said before, first I'd get the federal government out. I would, to the extent possible with res-- with respect to mandates and-- and designing curriculum and the like, I would get the state government out. I think that-- that the parents should be in charge working with the local school district to try to design an educational environment for each child that optimizes their potential. And whether it's in a public school or a private school or a Christian school or whatever kind of-- and whatever kind of setting that is best that the people at the local level can determine, I think that's where we need to go in education. It's got to be a much more dynamic process. We are failing American children. We're failing our society with having these high rates of dropouts and the people graduating without the skills or frankly without the value structure that's necessary to be able to go out and work hard and to be able to-- to produce in our society and to build strong communities. And I think we need some really dramatic changes. And we're not getting that.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Senator, I want to thank you very much for being with us this morning. I had hoped to ask you about some questions about the economy. But, frankly, you made so much news yesterday, out there on the campaign trail, I felt compelled to ask you about that. Thank you so much for being with us.
RICK SANTORUM: Well, I'm-- I'm happy to make news about-- about important issues of the day that obviously don't get talked about a lot.
BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, thank you so much. We'll be back in just a minute with our political round table.
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